I didn’t even know I needed to be rescued when I left the house that evening.

It was a couple of days before Christmas, and since my family was visiting from out of town for the afternoon, I hadn’t had time to respond to a last minute invitation from my friend Bess to attend a piano concert that night with her and her mother in downtown Indianapolis. But after a drive into the city to look at lights and sip hot cocoa, my family decided to begin making their way home. It was 6:53 p.m.

Looking at the time, I remembered the invitation and decided it was possible that the concert might not start until 7. I might just make it. I quickly called Bess’s cell phone. No answer. Then I called her home phone, hoping to catch her husband, Baher. After a quick explanation on my part and some fast internet searching on his part, we determined I was not too late. The concert was starting in just 4 minutes now, but I was just a minute or two away from the venue.

I turned the car around as Baher gave me directions and called his mother-in-law on the other phone. He found out where they seated and explained to them that I was on my way, then resumed our call, reading the details of the concert to me, including the part about the $25 tickets.

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Since I hadn’t planned on going, I hadn’t even considered bringing cash with me for tickets. And I never have that much cash on me “just because.” I considered scrapping the idea, but now Bess and her mother were waiting for me.

“Do you suppose they take credit cards?” I asked Baher over the phone, just blocks from the recital hall.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe?”

Once in the parking lot, Bess called to confirm where they were sitting. They had a seat for me, she said. And the concert hadn’t started yet, she reassured me, even though now it was 7:02.

I raced into the lobby of the building, deserted except for the man selling tickets and another man I caught only in my periphery.

“I’m here for the concert!” I announced, breathless.

“Great!” he said. “Tickets are $25.”

“Do you take credit cards?” I asked.

“Ooohhh,” he said, as though I had just asked him if he would barter the tickets for a goat. “We operate on cash only.”

“That’s a bummer,” I said, reverting to 80s slang in my moment of great disappointment. “I decided to come unexpectedly, and I don’t have any cash, and my friends are waiting for me.”

“You could write a check!” he announced, apparently scrapping his earlier policy of cash only.

“I don’t have my check book with me, either,” I said, desperately trying to remember if I had passed any ATMs on the way.

Just then, the other man emerged from the shadows, apparently having heard our conversation.

“You can put her ticket on my tab,” he told the man selling the tickets. “It’s on me,” he said, looking at me.

“Oh no,” I said. “You don’t have to do that. My friends are just inside; they can give me the cash.”

“Really, it’s no problem,” he said.

“Yeah, the ticket will at least get you in the door,” the ticket-man chimed in.

“You can be my date,” the man with the tab said.

“Well, ok,” I conceded. By now, the concert would be starting and my friends were no doubt wondering what was taking me so long. After getting two tickets from the ticket man, my new friend handed me one. “Thank you so much,” I said. “You saved me.”

“It’s my pleasure,” he said. I followed him into the concert hall, quickly located my friends, and enjoyed two hours of exhilarating piano music by Chopin and Schumann.

I didn’t know I would need to be rescued that night, but people who need to be rescued rarely do.

Photo by Martijn de Valk, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.